The Living Thing / Notebooks :

Comfy GNOME shell for less UI sadness

Usefulness: 🔧 🔧 🔧
Novelty: 💡
Uncertainty: 🤪 🤪 🤪
Incompleteness: 🚧 🚧 🚧


Are you used to Unity? Make GNOME look like Unity.

What are the keyboard shortcuts? How about that Alt+F2 Gnome Shell thing? Here’s an intro.


AFAICT you need to install a non-Ubuntu extension to even enable user themes? I haven’t done any of these.

Gnome shell

For user themes and extension enabling, the Alt-F2 menu is suddenly useful because it has some commands you use in shell tweaking, e.g.:

restart GNOME Shell
reload the GNOME Shell theme. i.e. to share/gnome-shell/theme/gnome-shell.css`.
launch LookingGlass GNOME Shell’s integrated debugger and inspector tool.

🚧 does this work under Wayland?

Typeahead navigation

You want to type W to navigate in the file browser to files starting with W, like Windows/macOS. Apparently this is called typeahead navigation, and it’s over now. Nope, they deleted that feature and replaced it with recursive search. Search is nice, but it’s a different thing to navigation.

To fix it you can either replace the file browser with a competitor, which is ugly, or with a fork, which is dubious. FFS.


Real executable code extensions are installed on your computer via a… web browser extension? I’m not sure how [insane]{filename} this is, but it feels insane to me.

Too many docks on the desktop

Too many docks too many many docks.

Everyone one wants their application icons in docs. I use the Ubuntu dock, because it is default on Ubuntu. But if you search for GNOME dock Extension… Cairo-dock? dashtodock? Many more even less reputable looking ones? Bikeshed dock? Committee dock?

Help! my Dock is visible on lock screen

This is a common problem. If I understand it right, at least for Ubuntu, it’s do with the demarcation lines after Ubuntu Unity was replaced by Gnome-with-extensions-to-make-it-look-like-unity. If you want everything to work out like you expect, you either do

  1. Use Ubuntu Dock Gnome extension, which is a patched Dash-to-Dock (i.e. not no dock extension and not vanilla Dash-to-dock extension.
  2. Oh that didn’t work? Try gsettings set transparency-mode FIXED Why they have it default to BROKEN I will never understand.


There is basic split screen tiling built in.

By dragging windows to the left and right edges of the screen you can tile them side by side.

There are some attempts to support more sophisticated tiling

As the author of slinger explains, there is a lot of awful kludging needed to make these go so none are entirely satisfactory. Sliger sounds like the most elegant option of these, but I couldn’t make it actually work.

I could, e.g. try to integrate xmonad with GNOME. 😒

Or, I could abandon gnome for sway which is a Wayland port of the classic i3 tiling window manager.


See launchers{filename} tl;dr just type the system key; (probably the Windows key on your keyboard). It’s a pretty good launcher and heaps fast.

Terminal emulators

Tilix is the terminal emulator that Gnome people tend to like. It has consistent keyboard shortcuts, tiles (but tiles terminals only) and integrates into the Gnome. I prefer hyper FWIW.